October in Palolem (Goa, India)
At the beginning of October I finally return to Goa in India with a cheap flight (Duesseldorf, Istanbul, Goa Dabolim). I was there for a few weeks in 2012, but it has been very quiet and cold in the rainy season and now I arrive shortly before the main season and am very excited! At the airport there is no ATM, so I have to take a prepaid taxi to the bus station in Mapusa. There I can withdraw money and then take a very cheap public bus to Palolem.
It feels great to be in India for the second time. I have more travel experience by now and I already get along much better than last time, at that time I was 22, this time I came back on my own again.
There are some possibilities where you can work as a volunteer in Palolem. I helped daily at a yoga school to get accommodation and food. I even organized the job on workaway.info in advance, but you can also ask around when you are there. Otherwise one can also rent a room at a reasonable price, although the south of Goa is slightly more expensive than the north, but it’s still quite cheap. For example, for the first two nights I found a very (!) basic room on 250RS per night, which is certainly the lower limit for a single room and a bit further away from the beach.
Many people hire a scooter, I rented a bicycle for a month, which is of course much cheaper. Although there are a few small mountains in the area, you can make really nice trips with the bike and so do your shopping, if you have time. For me it’s much more relaxed than with the scooter, cycling feels also safer to me, you are just a lot slower and could jump off at any time, besides, you can see much more of the environment and make no noise.
The two neighboring beaches Agonda and Patnem beach are definitely worth a trip. Agonda is a bit further but by bike it is a relaxed stretch. The left beach is very pretty with the big rocks and we were taken by the horses at the beach. There are some accommodations, but in October it was still very quiet there.
In Patnem and on the plains between Patnem and Palolem, there are lots of nice places to stay and bars. Once on the beach you have to turn left and explore the area. To Patnem it is a very nice walk and the beach there is even more relaxed than in Palolem.
The next little town Canacona (also called Chaudi or Chauri) can easily be reached by bike, we enjoyed some fresh sugarcane juice (opposite to the big bus station) there or went to the market there, on Saturdays everyone goes to the market to buy things for the week.
There are countless restaurants in Palolem and neighboring towns. I usually go to smaller, local restaurants and enjoy the delicious Indian food as cheap as possible. Often in the small shops it is much nicer to have a small talk with guests or employees, great if you travel alone! Every now and then I also wanted something different. I really liked “The Space Goa”, it is located on the road to Agonda and offers a great selection of vegan food, salads, shakes, cakes and drinks.
In October starts the season slowly in Palolem, the huts are built everywhere, restaurants and shops are opened. In December it is really crowded here, then almost as much is going on here as in the north of Goa. In October, however, it is still ok and you can spend even a quiet time here. Nevertheless, it is definitely a quite touristic place, one is constantly addressed by shopkeepers and sellers. If you do not mind too much, you can find a small paradise here. What I really liked was the many animals everywhere, there are still some cow herds and water buffaloes, the inhabitants keep pigs and chickens. It may sound weird, but horses or cows on the beach are just nice!